Catalent expansions show close pharma-biz tracking

Catalent continues an active-construction 2011, expanding an advanced dose form facility in Aprilia, Italy, about 50 km south of Rome. The pharma services company has completed what it calls the first phase of a multi-million dollar expansion of the facility.

The site already produces easy-to-swallow Vegicap capsules, which are derived from plant matter and free of animal derivatives and gluten.

The facility upgrade amounts to nearly a one-third expansion, according to Manufacturing Chemist. Improvements include a dedicated gelatin production area and encapsulation machinery for both traditional gelatin and Vegicaps.  A turbo emulsifier replaces open roll-milling equipment. The upgrade also includes workflow enhancements.

Catalent continues its focus on contract manufacturing capabilities it says are driven by customer need. The expanded site provides services spanning product conceptualization, formulation, development, production and packaging.

Elsewhere, the company recently completed a 3,000-square-foot cage expansion for security and storage of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Schedule III-V drugs. The cage, which is in a Philadelphia facility, adds 500 additional locations for storage, distribution and drug return.

And last month, Catalent announced plans to buy Aptuit's clinical trial supply business for $410 million to build on its global discovery and development services. That move came in the same month it announced additional cold chain expansions to keep pace with rising demand for clinical supplies in bio-product development.  Expansions target Somerset, NJ, as well as locations in the U.K. and Germany. The emphasis is on prefilled syringes, with storage and distribution capabilities of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and -80 degrees Celsius.

- here's the Aprilia plant expansion story